Monday, January 10, 2005

Iraqi Invasion Hindsight

The New York Times has an article on plans being drawn up on disengagement on Iraq.

This part of the article intrigued me:

"In classified strategy sessions, other administration officials say they are asking whether the sheer size of the American force, now 150,000 troops, is fueling the insurgency."

This is something I have been wondering myself lately. It could be that there is simply not enough troops there to keep the peace, but I wonder whether let's say we could double it, whether that would do much good. Troops can only guard so much. At some level they just become more terrorist targets. There's an underground in Iraq that is the real problem here. I wonder if more highly trained smaller groups of soldiers would handle the insurgency better. Changing the kind of troops in Iraq might allow both a lowering of the presence and also a more effective means at attacking the insurgency. Insurgencies are usually beat by dirty tactics, I don't know if our current troop deployments can do that.

It's interesting. If you went back five years ago and asked strategists whether it would be easier to occupy Afghanistan or Iraq, I believe most would say Afghanistan would be the more difficult one to control based on recent history. Yet, right now, Afghanistan is the more manageable situation. Perhaps it is because our expectations of success are so much different for that country. The Neocon argument for invading Iraq is that building a stable democracy there could then cause dominoes to fall in the other countries, hopefully improving the lifes of those living there and those reducing the use of terrorism. If we leave Iraq without a better country there, then the whole thing will be a failure. Not so the case with Afghanistan. There, as long as the terrorists have a harder time functioning (they basically had free rein in that country before 9/11) that operation was a success.

I think that if we were to invade Iraq all over again, that instead of trying to build a new society and government there basically from scratch, we should have just put in a more liberal dictator in. Hopefully, in that case, gradual change would occur with better results. See South Korea and Taiwan....

At this point, what I think Iraq needs is a Putin type character to take control. Basically someone who is strong and can lead the country forward even though he might have limited autocratic tendencies. At the moment, I don't believe Alwawi is that guy. There's always the hope that the elections will bring this sort of person to their fore....

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